couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the month “April, 2015”

Kolbotek is justified in court: There really is a lot of water in frozen fish

In 2010, Kolbotek, the show that loves to expose secrets in the food industry, had a two-part show about the amount of water that is added and/or injected into frozen fish in Israel.  You can watch the videos here:

Quite a furor arose after this show- the Knesset called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, supermarkets ran to remove the products from their freezers, and there were public campaigns to stop buying fish from China.  One of the companies, DeliDag, which is owned by Neto (think Tibon Veal, Atara, Wiliger, and more) sued Kolbotek for “lashon hara”-libel.  The judgement came down last week and DeliDag lost.

One of the judges had this to say about the suit:

Not every threat that publishes a study shows damage to the consumer.  The medicine for this is running to court and filing a libel suit.  Sometimes it is better to bow your head, examine the results of the study, to recognize the fault if there is one, and work to correct it.

So as sensationalist as Kolbotek tends to be, this time you can accept them as truth.  When you buy frozen fish, know that when it says “meubad”- “מעובד”- that means that the fish is processed and not fresh.  Look at the ingredients on the back and you will find food additives such as phosphates listed.  Food additives all have their E number listed with either the name or the type of food additive it is.  If you see that the fish has “tzipui kerach”-“ציפוי קרח”- that fished is glazed.  The law states that there can be up to 20% glazing on a fish.

Misrad HaBriut is responsible for the import of frozen and fresh fish to Israel.  If you find a product on the shelf that is not labeled appropriately or appears to have too much water in it, save the fish and the package and call *5400 or email Misrad HaBriut on their web site (English) to find out where to file a complaint.

Source: TheMarker

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Snap.in: the new way to “cut” coupons

Have you heard of Snap.in? It is Israel’s version of the latest way to NOT clip coupons.  Basically, you go to their web site or download their app from iTunes or Google Play to see what deals they have.  Go to any store you want- big, small, or in between and purchase any of the products listed.  Within seven days of purchase, photograph the receipt and send it to Snap.in.  Every time you get to 100 shekels, you get the cash directly deposited to your bank account or they will mail you a check. This is all the rage in the US now- check out apps such as ibotta, Checkout 51, and Snap by Groupon.  They work they same way as Snap.in but have a lower threshold for sending out the cash and some have the ability to send the cash through PayPal.  So far I haven’t gotten to 100 shekels yet, but I will update you how it goes.  I think it is a great idea for those of us who forget their coupons at home (or HATE to print them) or are not loyal to a particular supermarket.  It doesn’t cost anything to join and I did not have to give my bank account information to get an account.

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Wacky weather leads to wacky vegetable prices

I don’t know about you, but every time I go to the store to buy vegetables, I am constantly surprised by the prices.  In the beginning of the year, we were warned of high prices because of shemita and so I prepared accordingly.  Since then, the Russian economy collapsed and the weather in Europe became so pleasant for growing vegetables that they stopped importing Israeli produce.  Add to that the increased demand for Palestinian produce, and the fruit and vegetable prices dropped through the floor.  The farmers were hysterical, leaving food in their fields to rot because they couldn’t earn back the money it cost to harvest the field.

I was quite enjoying my bounty when suddenly before Pesach the prices rose again.  Why?  No mentioned reason- probably because it was pre-Pesach.  Last week, however, the cold weather that caused “the plague of hail” is being blamed for another increase in prices this week.  Avocados, for example, are 15 shekels/kg and white grapes are 30 shekels/kg.  Now it is “sharav”- let’s see if the prices will drop back down again.

Source: Yisrael HaYom

RECALL: Osem ketchup

On several containers of Osem ketchup with the new stopper a defect was discovered causing it to come off when using.  Please do not use the container and call Customer Service at 1-700-70-76-76 to get a replacement stopper.  This recall only applies to ketchup bottles marked “פקק חדש” and has an expiration date of 30/10/2015.

Source: Misrad HaBriut

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Pesach Mission #10: The after party

Yes, Pesach is over, but our work is not done.  Now is the time to sit with our lists and adjust for next year.

  • Did you run out of KLP cereal in the middle of the week?  Write down to buy more next year.
  • How many eggs and how much matzah did you really use?  Mark it down.
  • Did your food processor finally break down?  Make a note to buy one during the year- not at the last minute when you are stressed.
  • If you don’t have a master shopping list, type up the one you used this year and put it in a file to print out next year (or use the list on the Organizational Tools page).
  • If a new recipe was a keeper, write that on the recipe.  If a recipe didn’t make the grade, throw it out now.  There is nothing more frustrating than having four chocolate chip cookie recipes and not knowing which one tasted great and which one bombed.
  • If you save foods from year to year, don’t forget to write on your master shopping list not to buy them next year!

Don’t procrastinate- this is essential for proper planning and to help save money next year!

Nifty Sefirat HaOmer app

The second day of Pesach is the first day of Sefirat HaOmer.  If you have tried all sorts of reminders but tend to forget to count anyway, check out Rusty Brick’s Sefirat HaOmer app for iPhone and Android.  The app itself is free but if you pay 99 cents, you will get a daily reminder to count with the correct number in the listing.  In my opinion, this is the best 99 cents I have ever spent- I tried setting up reminders in Google Calendar but the number wouldn’t change with each successive day.  You can pick what time of day the reminder is sent and it does not send reminders on Shabbat/Yom Tov.

Pesach Mission #9: The children are not the Passover sacrifice!

Pesach Mission #9: The children are not the Passover sacrifice!

couponing in the holy land

That is a quote from Rav Aviner that really stuck with me.  What have our kids learned from this past week of vacation?  Is Pesach a fun holiday for them or a burden?  Are their parents spending quality time with them or are they constantly yelling?  I grew up dreading Pesach because of all the back-breaking work involved.  My oldest daughter, however, once told me that Pesach is her favorite holiday.  Why?  Because of all the fun things we do TOGETHER.   That is when I realized that I was able to break the chain of suffering.  I remember a woman wrote into a forum I belonged to saying that she broke her leg a few weeks before Pesach and was having 30 people at her seder.  She was distraught that she won’t be able to get everything done in time.  Several women offered time-saving tips, but one or two…

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